Audio

Galaxy Buds offer great battery life and easy pairing

Samsung Galaxy Buds
Samsung Galaxy Buds

Launched alongside the Samsung S10 smartphones and priced in the same ballpark as the Apple AirPods, the Galaxy Buds make a natural comparison with Apple's popular true wireless in-ear headphones.

They are also supposed to work better with Android and Samsung smartphones compared with the AirPods, making them an enticing prospect for non-Apple users.

Available in white (version tested), black and yellow, the Galaxy Buds look like last year's Gear IconX, but smaller and lighter.

The earbuds have a minimalist design with a triangular touchpad on their exterior.

The earbuds do away with built-in storage and workout-tracking ability of the IconX, making themmore AirPod-like in terms of function.

But unlike the AirPods, they comewith three pairs of earbud tips and three pairs of wing tips in small, medium and large sizes.

The medium-sized tips work best for me - I can shake my head vigorously, but the earbuds do not fall out.

The Buds are accompanied by a matching-coloured pillbox-shaped case that doubles as the charger.

  • FOR

    •Easy pairing

    •Lightweight and comfortable

    •Great overall audio quality and battery life

    AGAINST

    •Iffy touchpad gestures

    •Intermittent Bluetooth connection drops

    SPECS

    PRICE: $238

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.0

    WEIGHT: 5.6g (each earbud), 39.6g (charging case)

    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

This case is smaller than the charging case of the IconX (2018), but has the same rear USB-C charging port. However, it now supports wireless charging, so you can place it with the latest S10 phones to charge via their Wireless PowerShare feature.

For this review, the Buds - updated with the latest firmware - were paired with a Samsung Galaxy Note9.

Pairing is a cinch.

First, download the Android-only Galaxy Wearable app. Then start the Bluetooth pairing by opening the lid of the charging case. Tap on Connect from the pop-up window that appears. Follow the on-screen instructionsto complete the pairing process.

The app also allows you to turn on the equaliser - you would want to do that as the audio sounds pretty flat without it.

I also recommend switching the equaliser to its Dynamic mode, as it provides a good balance of bass, mids and highs. Overall, the Buds deliver a decent sound quality that matches up well with other wireless in-ear headphones.

The app lets you customise the touchpad gestures. By default, a single tap on the touchpad plays or pauses the music. A double-tap plays the next song, while a triple-tap plays the previous song.

But this can get iffy. My attempts at triple-tapping are sometimes foiled because the next song would start to play before I hit the third tap. At times, my triple-tapping attempts end up pausing the song.

Another downside is the intermittent Bluetooth connection drops. This seems to happen more often when I am in the office, which has plenty of Bluetooth connections such as those between keyboards and laptops.

I am impressed with the Buds' battery life.

Rated at six hours and lasting around five hours during my tests with the volume mostly on the high side, it easily beats its competition which typically last between two and three hours.

With its convenient pairing, great battery life and good audio quality, the Galaxy Buds are highly recommended especially if you are using a Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2019, with the headline 'Galaxy Buds offer great battery life and easy pairing'. Print Edition | Subscribe